NCHC supports reducing the patient financial burden of an expensive health care system. As such, the Coalition supports eliminating the practice of surprise medical billing. Surprise medical billing arises when a patient is held liable for health services that have been left unpaid. Additionally, surprise medical billing is most closely associated with ancillary and emergency services provided by out-of-network physicians. Currently, Congress has focused on removing the patient from payment disputes between providers and insurers. Although the Coalition does not currently support one specific bill for surprise billing, the Coalition continues to monitor legislation.
NCHC supports bipartisan solutions to eliminate surprise billing, including
- Protecting patients from surprise billing in situations where it is unreasonable to expect them to know which providers are in-network
- Encouraging network simplicity for both patients and providers
Recent publications from NCHC on this topic:
Surprise Medical Billing Primer
June 5, 2020, NCHC Staff
Surprise medical billing contributes to unpredictable, high out-of-pocket costs for consumers. Patients often encounter surprise medical bills when receiving emergency or ancillary health services from out-of-network practitioners. Recent studies indicate that surprise billing is concentrated in specific specialties like pathology.1 These providers “balance bill” patients for the difference between the full charge for services and the amount paid by the insurer, or bill for the entire amount of undiscounted charges. Payers, providers, facilities, and health consumers are all stakeholders to consider in legislation to address surprise medical bills. In protecting consumers, policymakers should not fuel health care inflation, but rather, promote reasonable solutions that appease payers, providers, and patients. See the Coalition’s full primer here.
National Coalition Expresses Disappointment in 2019 Year-End Package, “Surprise Billing” and Drug Prices Missing
December 20, 2019, NCHC Staff
The National Coalition on Health Care expresses significant disappointment that Congress did not act in 2019 to protect Americans from surprise medical bills or from high prescription drug prices.
Although we applaud the inclusion of CREATES Act in the final year-end spending package, which will help provide a boost to the generic drugs market, the end of the year package lacks any significant changes to drug policy that would protect Americans from the most expensive drugs. Americans have consistently indicated that high and increasing drug prices are the top concern, across both Democrats and Republicans.
The full press release can be found here.
NCHC 2019 State Legislative Summary
August 2, 2019, NCHC Staff
Governors and state legislatures have been taking action in 2019 to lower health care costs and promote affordable coverage options for their residents. We reviewed 2019 state legislation and executive actions, and highlight some of the boldest approaches to lower drug, provider, and health insurance costs.
Please click here to read the report in its entirety.
NCHC Writes Letter to Senator Hassan on Surprise Bills
January 2, 2019, NCHC Staff
On December 21, 2018, NCHC wrote a letter to legislators that supported S. 3592, the No More Surprise Bills Act of 2018. The effects of surprise medical bills effect thousands of people on a daily basis and the problems associated with these bills are growing, creating negative financial consequences for patients and the entire health care system.
You can read the entire letter here.